Over the past few months I have seen first hand how ableist the world actually is. I’ve written before about how people do not see me as being someone who has disabilities and how much it frustrates me when I ask for additional support but people look at me like I’m lying because I look “far too young” to have anything wrong with me.
I’m not the only person in my life that experiences this. Both my partners have various issues that prohibit them from some day to day tasks, but because neither of them are not visible, they are seen to not exist.
I should start from the beginning. Whilst I look like some scary bright haired goth with an attitude problem, there are many things actually wrong.
I have a spine injury made worse by binding, I have arthritis, my joints lock on bad days, I’m epileptic, I’m on the autistic spectrum, I have tourettes which is just about manageable and my mental health is so bad at times, suicide has felt like the only option. Not including how screwed up my liver is of course. My life involves a juggle of which pain killers I need to take, not stressing myself out and attempting to sleep.
This combined is honestly exhausting at times. I don’t like talking about it often because people just think its bullshit and that someone my age cannot be so ill without being in a wheelchair. I do have a stick that I use on bad days. Which again I get shit for because people do not think I need it.
A couple of weeks ago I got told “how were they supposed to know I was struggling to move because they had seen me walk without my stick” when I asked about how accessible certain venues actually were. During the same conversation, the person went on to imply that people in wheel chairs were the main concern and maybe they should just ask everyone with “special needs” what sort of venue they wanted.
If it wasn’t so fucking sarcastic in tone, I would have honestly coped with it better.
You see, I get abuse all the fucking time. Whether its because I’m a non binary trans person or I’m sitting on the bus with my stick in the priority seating. Because my conditions are not visible, I don’t have them. I once got pushed out the way queuing for a bus, by someone much older than I demanding she must get on before me. I explained that it was rude but she didn’t even care. Because I was a “young person” I can wait.
I honestly expect it in public spaces now where people do not know me. Its OK, I don’t expect people to understand hidden illnesses and conditions you can’t see. I however don’t like the fact that I get called selfish, a liar or rude because I cannot physically give up my seat or move quick enough. I’ve had to contact Brighton and Hove bus company because how bad I have been abused on the bus. Even though I have the card explaining to drivers that I need the seat.
What I don’t like, and I really don’t understand is that groups, friends and people I know have been like this. There is an assumption that queers do not need venues that are accessible or that extra help maybe needed when required. I’m horrified that at times I have to constantly repeat myself and say that certain things are not helpful to me. Its then when I’m upset. When I get looked like I’m shit in trans spaces and accused of being passive aggressive because I have asked for help or that I can’t engage in human interaction it suddenly makes me a cunt. Or that me being autistic makes me a trouble maker because I can’t engage in a “normal” way. Yes I get flustered often but if I was listened to rather then ignored, you might understand why.
I feel that constantly I am battling with supposed “queer and/or trans activists” about intersectionality and that people can fit into many different boxes. I also feel that the same community are also the worst to understand this. We should all be working better towards making safer spaces to all queer and trans people. Not just middle aged, middle class, able white queers. ALL QUEERS
I’m trans and I’m disabled, not one or the other. Both. And that’s not going to change because you do not see it.